I'll be back for an annual health pick-me-up

Full Review written by Cheryl Slater who attended the Summer Boost Retreat.

After being in the city for a few days I couldn’t wait for a bit of fresh mountain air, serenity, calm and an opportunity to kick start my health again. Travelling for a living can take its toll and I was ready to be still for a few days and not leave the retreat house.

The Reset Button retreats are hosted by Rachel and the onsite Reset dream team include a nutritionist, personal trainer, yoga teacher, massage therapist, mindfulness teacher and two chefs. This is the kind of team you wish had on speed dial on your phone when you’re feeling a bit frazzled and burnt out. They will work their magic and transform you into a happy, healthy and relaxed person.

I’ve hit burnt out before and I know how important it is to take care of oneself and health whilst you’re working long hours and feeling stressed, deprived of sleep, exhausted and in need of a break. Rachel’s story is typical of a London city worker who was burning the candle at both ends and feeling stressed out. She turned to mindfulness, changed her eating regime and began a healthy relationship with fitness. She left her job of 15 years as a creative director in the advertising industry and started up in the retreat business.

This retreat is for those who most need it – the city workers, fashionista’s, burned-out executives, high flyers, the busy and over worked professionals who are time poor and never get a moment to actually stop, slow down, reflect, change their diet, unhealthy habits and take a look inside themselves.

Our retreat home is a beautiful rustic Spanish mansion up in the mountains of Barcelona where the air is clean and pure! The extremely photogenic outdoor pool is where you will want to spend most of your time in between the mindfulness and meditation sessions or after your deeply relaxing massage. There’s also an indoor pool and spa (in case it rains!) or you want a bit of respite from the glorious sunshine.

On arrival at the retreat and after unpacking my bags and it was straight into it with my personal training session with fellow northerner and Leeds born Paul to get my heart pumping and set me up for the rest of the retreat. Paul’s cheeky humour will make you laugh as you’re working out doing a farmers walk or frog jumps in the air.

At the heart of the retreats is mindfulness

The aim of the Reset Button retreats is to create the perfect environment for guests to relax while learning how to get back to the very best version of themselves. It is not a ‘fast fix’ but more a long-term reset, putting everyone back onto track creating realistic goals and teaching easily implementable ways to improve well-being.

Jess is a mindfulness therapist who originally trained as a psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist. Each day there was a drop in guided mediation to help us become the observer of our thoughts rather than become attached and hanging on to them. On the last day the group did a mindful walk through the forest allowing us to connect with nature and observe the surrounding beauty.

The food

Meal times were definitely something to look forward to each day, catering for vegans, vegetarian’s and meat/fish eaters, master chef Alfredo who is the owner of Barcelona’s number one vegan tapas restaurant Sesamo (which I later visited and can highly recommend) and his assistant Alan served us three delicious and nutritious meals a day.

On the guidance of the nutritionist Claudia, there was to be no sugar, wheat, dairy, processed foods, salt, caffeine or alcohol on the menu. This sounds harsh but the food was so tasty that I personally didn’t experience any cravings although I did get detox symptoms the first couple of days of the retreat, probably due to the caffeine and alcohol I had consumed pre-retreat! They actually recommended you start to cut down on a week before you arrive.

The daily menus consisted of detox smoothies such as beetroot, fennel, celery, parsley, rice milk and coconut flakes, vegan bircher, oat cakes with divine almond and hazlenut butter for breakfast (who needs nutella!), delicious salads, soups, plenty of nuts, seeds and superfoods and a super healthy Thai and Mexican themed brunch. I’d love to to share their recipes with you but you will have to wait for that! We are all very keen to get our hands on them!

Nutritional consultation

Claudia’s aim at the Reset Button retreat is to give every guest individual expert nutrition advice that can change their life forever. She has worked with some of Europe’s most exclusive retreats, and was highly commended by Conde Nast as retreat nutritionist in the Spa Guide 2014.

As a traveller who is constantly on the move I have been finding it extremely challenging to commit to being vegan and staying healthy at the same time. I spend a lot of time at hotels and options are limited and not very satisfying or healthy. I have been in too many situations where I have gone hungry and not eaten due to there being nothing available. I was starting to lose all pleasure around food and was feeling deprived.

Being on retreat is obviously the best opportunity to eat well consistently every day when it’s being cooked and prepared for you however I really needed some advice on how to sustain and nourish myself whilst on the road. We decided that I could contact the hotels in advance and ask them to prepare something simple such as avocado and mushrooms on toast or even a plate of grilled vegetables and fruit.

We also spoke about mindful eating – taking five deep breaths and especially for me, not to eat whilst at the computer which I totally hold my hands up to!

Deeply relaxing massage

No retreat is complete without a heavenly massage and the massage therapist Nunu provided exactly that! Using organic essential therapeutic oils to give me a deeply relaxing massage using a blend of styles including Swedish, Thai stretches and Japanese acupressure. Nunu works in Ibiza during the summer and has her own centre in the city of Barcelona. I love the post massage blissed out feeling and it’s a totally appropriate time to take an afternoon siesta.

Yoga

Raphaella our yoga teacher is from Australia and now lives and teaches in Barcelona. She teaches Ishta yoga which blends the ancient and contemporary sciences of Hatha, Tantra and Ayurveda. I loved her style of teaching and openness and attended her outdoor classes in the park once I got back to the city Barcelona. She adapts the classes for all levels so don’t worry if you are not a beginner!

 

Five days later I am a transformed and healthy human being ready to head back to the city feeling refreshed and radiating that post detox glow…! A big thank you to Rachel and the Reset button dream time for hosting me, I’ll be back for an annual health pick me up!

 

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